On the basis of detailed textual evidence from Gramsci's writings, this article aims at fully establishing the importance of Gramsci's interest in Kipling, and at putting forward a new interpretation of this interest. Existing secondary literature only includes a few contributions on this topic, focusing mainly on Gramsci's explicit references to Kipling's prose. This article shows a more pervasive presence - including echoes of Kipling's poetry - in diverse and significant writings by Gramsci, and goes beyond the explanations that Gramsci himself provided for his interest in the work of the Anglo-Indian writer. A particular sense of proximity emerges to certain episodes and themes in Kipling's literary work which revolve around questions of personal identity, more or less directly related to the historical context of colonialism. This proximity is a subtle indicator of Gramsci's perception of his own life and socio-cultural background, and - as suggested in the final part of the article - may also provide useful elements to further our understanding of Gramsci's intellectual trajectory and of the biographical roots of his reflections on recent Italian history.